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Badly Designed Roundabouts?

By arescarti42 - 18 March 2009 36

I was just wondering if anyone else has noticed or has issues with a few roundabouts in Canberra that seem badly designed.  The main one that comes to mind for me is the big one on the intersection of Coranderrk Street and Parkes Way near the city.  My issue with it is that coming from the southeast on Parkes Way and turning right onto Coranderrk, both lanes have right turn markings on them.  This means that when you are turning right from the left lane, there is the potential to be cutting in front of people who are coming from Coranderrk St. and about to travel north west on Parkes Way.  This of course happens when you’re slowing down to take the corner, and they’re speeding up to exit the roundabout.

Though I can’t put my finger on any other specific ones, I seem to remember roundabouts around the city where you are forced to change lanes within them or are otherwise not well laid out. 

Does anyone else find this? 

Or am I just too picky?

What’s Your opinion?

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36 Responses to
Badly Designed Roundabouts?
smee 2:39 pm 18 Mar 09

Roundabouts work well when traffic flows from each direction are roughly equal. They break down badly when enough traffic is arriving from one direction to block other entrances without enough interruptions to allow vehicles to flow.

The classic example of this is the roundabout at the intersection of Athllon/Isabella Drives and Drakeford Drive where they have had to install traffic lights on Athllon drive to give those heading south on Drakeford drive a chance to make it into the roundabout.,149.078486&spn=0.014146,0.01884&t=h&z=16

Roundabouts are also used to patch up bad planning like the two pissant little roundabouts on Sulwood drive behind Wanniassa and the whole of Gungahlin.

The best roundabout in Canberra used to be the one on Johnson Drive where it meets Ashley Drive where the roundabout rules cleanly applied but looked like a triangle.,149.106939&spn=0.014144,0.01884&t=h&z=16

It worked well with good traffic flows and a nice efficient line for the vehicle to follow however this must have confused Joe Public too much as it wasn’t round so has been replaced with a circle.

Even South Queanbeyan residents can deal with an intersection with 3 stop signs,149.22251&spn=0.003539,0.00471&t=h&z=18
but us poor Canberrans can’t deal with 3 give way signs.

caf 2:25 pm 18 Mar 09

There’s nothing wrong with the roundabout you describe in your original post, though. If you fail to give way to people already on the roundabout then you will always be “cutting people off”.

arescarti42 1:34 pm 18 Mar 09

Looks like I am just being picky, although it is somewhat comforting to see there are lots of other picky people out there.

That extra lane on the Anzac Parade roundabout is another I meant to mention that doesn’t really make much sense. Looking at the intersection from above, it seems like it is there more to make the roundabout symmetrical than than anything else.

I love Canberra’s roundabouts. I find it really sad, particularly along Pialligo Avenue near the airport that they’re replacing so many with traffic lights (HATE). I just sometimes wonder if confusion, congestion and traffic accidents could be avoided if they were designed with a little more common sense.

LlamaFrog 1:00 pm 18 Mar 09

as I have mentioned in previous posts, I love roundabouts, canberra is in a traffic light building frenze at the moment and it is an awful blight when roundabouts can look very nice when well kept and not left to be swamps with swans nesting in them.

Very Busy 12:54 pm 18 Mar 09

pug206gti said :

Top of Anzac Parade – going north, turning onto Limestone. Where most of the traffic here turns left

Well, many very important drivers decide that they are to good to wait in the left lanes to turn left so they enter the roundabout in the right lane, do a complete 360 around the roundabout and force the less important drivers to give way to them as they exit. This is the type of self centred driving style that is so common in Canberra. I’m sure that speed cameras will eventually fix the problem though!!!!

Pot Holes 12:42 pm 18 Mar 09

You are just being picky

Sgt.Bungers 12:40 pm 18 Mar 09

Roundabouts in general are far, far better than traffic lights. They force traffic from all directions to slow down before entering the intersection… unlike traffic lights where most drivers are comfortable with sailing through at the speed limit if they have a green light.

An ill thought out round about though can cause more havoc than a set of traffic light though. My pet peeve in the ACT is the round about at the intersection of the Federal Highway and Antill Street in Watson… the first roundabout you pass through in the ACT after crossing into the ACT from NSW via the Federal.

I have come across the aftermath of far more crashes at this intersection than any other, at least two dozen in the past 5 years. I have stopped to help out 5 people who have slid off the round about. The scars of many more accidents are visible… copious amounts of skid marks, chunks taken out of the gutters, signs frequently knocked down, the vegetation on the western side of the roundabout is completely gone due to drivers mounting the curb with their vehicles. The problem here is it is simply too sharp a corner for people to take after they’ve been sitting on 100-110km/h for the last 3 hours from sydney. You’ll all know how easy it is to misjudge your speed after you’ve been crusing any highway for hours… I have no doubt that this is what causes the majority of the crashes at this intersection… people trying to negotiate it too fast after misjudging their speed.

After over a year of campaigning to ACT Roads, then eventually to Stanhope and Hargreaves directly, I finally managed to convince them to install the reduce speed signs and recommended speed signs that are on the approach to this round about now. The speed camera leading up to it was their own idea… albiet IMHO, not a good solution. The camera forces drivers to slow only to 80, when the roundabout can safely be negotiated at 40-50km/h in good conditions.

The issue could be easily fixed with flashing lights or electronic signs telling people to slow down, as other cities all over the country use to warn drivers where a speed to safely negotiate it may not be immediately obvious. The road leading up to it could be re-engineered to make drivers feel like they’re going faster. Lane markings placed closer together… lanes narrowed… but doing things like this will cost money instead of moking money hey 🙂

sepi 12:19 pm 18 Mar 09

Top of ANZAC pde used to be three lanes and work well. Then they built those traffic lights and took away a lane and did that stupid last minute merge, and it has never really worked ever since.

caf 11:32 am 18 Mar 09

pug206gti: I too have wondered what that extra outside lane is doing there.

pug206gti 10:53 am 18 Mar 09

I’ll add the following:

Top of Anzac Parade – going north, turning onto Limestone. Where most of the traffic here turns left, the two left lanes merge to one, then have to give way on the roundabout which makes for slow peak travel. A slip lane like that on Kings Ave, and merging the two right lanes (hardly anyone turns right) would make sense. Perhaps once that side is upgraded this year something might change. Also, on that note, the roadworkers have left the bollards at the top of Anzac Parade, so it’s quite a visual hazard in a lower car to see if you need to give way to cars on the roundabout.

Bottom of Anzac Parade – I’ve nearly been wiped out at least once by someone turning right from Parkes way onto Anzac Parade. The Parkes Way westbound lane markings show you can only turn right from the right lane, yet there is an extra outside lane to the west of the pond. Someone turning right from the left lane would be at fault if they ran into someone going straight ahead in the right lane.

p1 9:57 am 18 Mar 09

I like most of the roundabouts. The problems with them are mostly SFU errors.

sepi 9:36 am 18 Mar 09

I don’t like that one, or the Kingston/Fyshwick one. I think the fact that they aren’t symetrical puts me off – some exits seem too close to each other. I don’t like the Russell/Kings Ave one either, but that is more the speed of the traffic, and the general congestion.

Maybe I will release a new map of Canberra – how to get from North to South without going near any of the major roundabouts!

Adza 9:18 am 18 Mar 09

So what do you do on a single lane roundabout? You’re always cutting in front of people then.

justbands 9:18 am 18 Mar 09

I use the one you mentioned every day…it’s never been an issue.

Madame Workalot 8:42 am 18 Mar 09

The rule there is quite simple: you don’t enter the roundabout when other vehicles are turning right from Coranderrk St. If there is someone in the left lane from Coranderrk St, you may choose to rely on whether they are indicating left or right.

If you are referring to turning right from Parkes Way in the left lane and possibly cutting off someone going straight from the right lane, if you look at the markings the right lane is a right turn only.

I think by the end of this week I’m going to be an expert on Canberra roundabouts! 🙂

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